the Journey

  • Distance to go: 0 Mi

    Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.

    Distances here are shown in statute miles.

Mountains on the Horizon (Day 79)

Day 79: S85° 49' 25.2", E159° 42' 21"

Duration: 9 Hr

Daily distance: 24.7 Mi

Distance to go: 610 Mi

Temperature: -21 °C

Wind chill: -34 °C

Altitude: 8665 Ft

Tarka didn't think we'd see them until tomorrow, but my mum (she was looking at Google Earth when we spoke on the phone last night) thought they might come into view today: the long ridge of summits that makes up the Dominion Range of mountains, to our north east. Mum was right; they appeared over the horizon during the last hour of today. I was in the lead when I spotted them and turned back to Tarka, pointing with my ski pole. He lifted both his poles in the air in a victory salute and it was a special moment.

Spotting those far peaks must have been a huge relief to Shackleton and Scott's teams, the only people in history to have trodden this route before us, and the sight certainly added a spring to our step and a few inches to our stride. We ended up having our best day in ages today, and a record distance for a 'normal' day of nine hours' skiing: nigh-on 40km, or 25 miles. The weather was great: not too cold, a tailwind, and excellent visibility and contrast. The surface was as good as we've had in ages, there's only a small amount of sastrugi, and what's more we've found our old tracks again, raised like railway lines above the snow's surface, so navigating was a doddle.

We both felt physically and mentally strong all day, so last night's feast seems to have paid off. I think we must have consumed close to 8,000 calories in 24 hours, and around 1,200 grams of carbohydrate alone yesterday. Our bodies seem to be processing this colossal amount of energy quite happily, and my inner human performance and nutrition geek wishes we could do a bit more research into our extraordinary metabolic turnover at the moment.

We're celebrating today's mileage with another two dinners each this evening, an extra breakfast shared between us as pudding, and half a litre of sweet tea to wash it all down, so that's close to another 2,000 calories going into my belly between finishing this update and going to sleep...


# Sandra Price, January 12th 2014

Great to hear of your successful day - thank you for sharing your adventure with all its highs and lows with us all

# Pavol Timko, January 12th 2014

Dear Ben and Tarka,

I just wanted to let you know what impact your endeavour may/will have.

I’ve been hiking yesterday and after some time and distance some usual fatigue occurred. I would be prone to suffer under it but the effects could be suppressed by a single thought of you guys. Your long route and unbelievable distances you handle every day is an inspiration. I just smiled and kept going.

I knew for very long time that fatigue signal from body triggers reaction from mind and it will “dramatise” the feeling of “want to give up”. You may think you can’t go anymore when your body would still be able to perform.

Soul can dictate to mind and body. Anybody can achieve this more or less. Your expedition, your endurance and will is an inspiration. I could feel direct impact on how I performed yesterday, can’t speak out for others but I strongly believe that many readers will encounter the same thing.

Maybe you wanted to have fun down south and you did it just for the sake of walking on snow and ice. Maybe you wanted to enjoy an antarctic blizzard. But the side effect is huge inspiration for others and for this, my friends, I want to say a big THANK YOU!


# Allison & Mark, January 12th 2014

Mum always knows. Always listen to Mum.
Your spirits really seem to have regained their previous strength. We are pleased t read that things are back on track (or should I say your tracks) every day is a day nearer to home. Well done chaps.

# Christian, January 13th 2014

Victory guys :-) this your success! It is brfilliant being able to follow you. Winterly regards from Berlin (GER)

# Mal Owen, January 12th 2014

The spirits are well heightened… those distant peaks and full bellies have done their trick. A marathon distance, so grease those skis and elbows, keep plugging away and hopefully another under the belt by the end of today. It’s amazing what a few extra calories, a magical moment and a phone call from Mum can do.

# Richard Pierce, January 12th 2014

Brfilliant! that’s all I can say. Keep going, mes braves! R

# Lydia , January 12th 2014

Wahoooooo what a great read the blog is today!!  Fabulous news on all fronts. 
Imagine if MacDonalds get to hear what you are up to I am sure they would be there straightaway with a mobile unit frying up a couple of Big Macs that would get you to your 2,000 calories in no time although the nutritional value of course would be questionable and what they may do to your digestive channels I dread to think.
Keep going towards those Mountains my friends.
We are right behind you - with your Mum who if course always know best!
Lydia x

# Richard Pierce, January 12th 2014

I can’t spell first thing on a Sunday morning, but it does seem quite apt :-) R

# Mal Owen, January 12th 2014

New entry for OED next year :-)

# Rebecca, January 12th 2014

I’m going to start using brfilliant. I love it!

# Simon, January 12th 2014

Nice one Richard; Brfilliant = Supper-calorific-value-expeditiosis!

# Mal Owen, January 12th 2014

Brifilliant Simon :-)

# Mal Owen, January 12th 2014

Sorry Richard…..I can’t spell late afternoon/early evening !

# Richard Pierce, January 12th 2014

I love it that a typo of mine has brought forth such hilarity - and a new word. Brfilliant! ;-) R

# wonderwoman, January 12th 2014

What a wonderful moment! Let the peaks be your guide. We send you a lot of good wishes from Finland and pray for you.

# Intrepid, January 12th 2014

Grinning from ear to ear. Yay for you. Both of you. It’s really fascinating how important nutrition is… getting enough of what you need to do what you need to do.

Hope another double dinner, another warm rest, and pudding in the morning helps you move tomorrow, in physical as well as mental space.


# Uncle Pete, January 12th 2014

Ben, Tarka, As Richard says, brfilliant - It sounds like some sort of extra brilliant and very apt! Expect to see you making some real descents over the next few days. Keep your eyes peeled on the way underfoot (ski) as well as on the welcome scenery! Best wishes as ever.

# rod pattinson, January 12th 2014

great pic of mountain ridge all down hill still following great achiement football man unit 2 Swansea 0. hull 0 Chelsea 2. keep going.

# Janet Stanley , January 12th 2014

Great going guys, it must have been wonderful to see the mountains, please stay safe :)

# Ariane, January 12th 2014

It appears the mojo transfer was successful. Way to go.

# AlisonP, January 12th 2014

Woohoo, what a day!  So happy to hear of the mountains in view, the terrific mileage, the raised poles in celebration, the extra meals in your tummies, and the joy in your post today.  Soon you will see the street signs: Downgrade ahead, glissading permitted!

Another double dinner should give you another great energy boost for tomorrow’s ski towards the mountains.  Great going, lads.

# Sharyle, January 12th 2014

So glad you had a good day where you felt strong.  Enjoy your double dinner!  Every km brings you closer to your goal.

# Rebecca, January 12th 2014

Great work. So happy to read your spirits and energy are up. Double dinners, good weather, and improved surface be praised!

# Bruce Young, January 12th 2014

Brilliant guys, keep up the incredible energy. The horizon beyond the horizon is in touching distance :) Cheers, Bruce.

# CaninesCashews, January 12th 2014

Hi Guys,
Wowsers what a great boost to your mileage.
Must have been an amazing feeling when those mountains hoved into sight!
Keep following those tracks until you reach the Beard!!
Stay Safe.

# Jennifer, January 12th 2014

Thank you Ben and Tarka!  I’ve been needing to add an extra half an hour to my Nordic track workout, and reading your blog today just made me do it.  My mind transported to the horizon you see and I was skiing behind you both, all three of us challenging each other.  Then, I suddenly overtook the lead and had to periodically look back at you both to catch up to me! At the end, I polished the perspiration off the leather, downed a banana, stole a shower, and curled up on the divan. 

I genuinely feel much more accomplished, and it’s all because of you guys.  You are simply awe-inspiring.

# Hilary, January 12th 2014

Yahoo! The mountains are in sight. Brfilliant as seems to be the new word on here! Glad you seem to be in better spirits too, long may it stay that way! Onwards and downwards!!

# Willie Hannah, January 12th 2014

Ben and Tarka, HOOFING mileage today.  From the grey day and mood of yesterday, to the crisp, bright mood of today, fantastic achievement.  Be safe, be strong, Willie

# Raven, January 12th 2014

Hooray! You sounded rather down in the dumps yesterday, so I’m glad today was better. Amazing what blue skies and a full belly can do for one’s outlook on life.

# Anthea Henton, January 12th 2014

Yeahhhhh great blog. So happy that you have had a great day. Smiling with you both. X

# Jamie rouan, January 12th 2014

This is inspirational stuff guys - following every minute of your journey and loving it. Keep up the hard work.

# Andrea, January 12th 2014

A measure of a visibility, one characteristic of the antarctic plateau.

# Jo, January 12th 2014

Guten Appetit!

# Jarda C., January 12th 2014

Great job, keep up, guys! Such a great progress, it´s incredible.
I send you many greetings from the Czech republic.

# Tobias M, January 12th 2014

Ben and Tarka,

So thrilled you guys are eating well and feeling strong!  You are constantly in mine and Zayne’s prayers!

Big hug to you both


PS - Wedding invite en route!

# Offroading Home, January 13th 2014

Yep… it’s amazing what adequate nutrition will do!  And congrats on another 24 mile day. Your old camp #46 is “only”  about 21.3 miles away at the top of the Beardmore (is that where more food is located?).

For those following, a note that we’ve made some major additions to the Google Earth Antarctic Resource File [available free at: ] which might be of interest. You’ll notice a bit more visible track-points which make it easier to follow the difficulty of the terrain by the separation of the “ping marks.”  AND, probably the most interesting, the major buildings and sectors of the South Pole Station have now been added. You can follow Ben and Tarka’s track (well as best as hourly trackpoints allow) around the buildings, pole and ski-way. [Sorry, they were to have been added before their arrival at the pole but the problems Google Earth has with displays across 90 degrees didn’t allow it.]

Satellite image shows a bit more terrain tomorrow with “heightened relief” as you climb down to the head of the Beardmore. This, fellas, is Offroading Home to the max!

# Dave, January 13th 2014

Mountains come out of the sky and they stand there.  Enjoy the view.


# kiwawa, January 13th 2014

Yaaaaay! Chase those mountains boys! Keep your eyes peeled to the ground in case you might have dropped a snack on the way there… I feel I ought to considered eating 8000 calories this very minute to experience an energy boost and cover 40km dragging my sofa or something.  I wish my thoughts could actually physically help you both. Now I’m sure you can see your own tracker, you are so close to half way back it’s getting increadibly real. Just watched a lady on CNN try to pronounce L’Herpiniere, and for once I felt no anger at the lady for mispronouncing, but utter gushing pride. My big bro is a hero in the making.

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